Wilbur Lunt was born Aug. 9, 1929, on the family farm in Duncan, beside the Gila River. He farmed all his life, purchasing his father’s farm in 1950 and eventually farming half the Duncan Valley with grains, potatoes, onions, lettuce, cotton, pinto beans, and chilies. He farmed on the original 150 acres until he was in his 88th year.
Wilbur was instrumental in bringing Farm Bureau to Greenlee county in the 60s. In addition to Farm Bureau, he had been active with many organizations in support of agriculture, He helped form the first soil conservation district in Arizona and served for 17 years as president of ASCS which is now FSA.
Wilbur served as president of the Franklin Irrigation District for 54 years, serving as a key leader representing agriculture’s interests in the Gila River Water Settlement.
Wilbur married Mada Lee Pharis (1932 – 1983) in October 1949. They were blessed with three children, Michael Del, Nancy Lee, and Jonathan Kelly. He is the beloved grandfather to 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
In July 1984, Wilbur married Marian Ray Sabin. In this union, he became the step-father to seven children, Brian, Clifford, Gregory, Claudia, Eric, Deanna, and Marianne. Wilbur is adored by 39 step-grandchildren, 124 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
Wilbur passed away in his home in Safford on April 9, 2021. He leaves the legacy of being the champion ear wiggler, singing funny songs, and storyteller.
A viewing for Wilbur will be held on Friday evening, April 23, at the McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel from 6 until 8 p.m. There will also be a viewing prior to the funeral service beginning at 9 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Duncan Stake Center. The funeral services will begin at 10 a.m., with interment in the Duncan Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.